Turkey, Istanbul, Dec.6 / Trend special correspondent A.Badalova /
At the end of the last century and beginning of the third millennium, the Caspian Sea is one of the most important geopolitical, geo-strategic and geo-economic regions.
Head of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Social and Political Department Ali Hasanov made this statement at the Caspian Forum in Istanbul on Thursday, a Trend special correspondent reported.
The Caspian Sea and its basin is one of the world regions rich in alternative sources of energy, and a region which the world again wants to enter in search of energy. As is known, no foreign country had been present in the Caspian Sea, except Iran and the Soviet Union since 1921. Some 86 percent of the region belonged to the Soviet Union, 14 percent - to Iran. Iran engaged in fishing in the region mostly. In the Soviet Union, only Azerbaijan was engaged in oil and natural gas production at sea," Hasanov said.
The Caspian Sea's new stage began in 1994 when Heydar Aliyev created and firmly pursued Azerbaijan's new oil strategy, Hasanov underlined.
He said that in a geographical context, the Caspian Sea is the center of Eurasia, five states are located around the sea, and the peoples of these countries historically lived their and their economic and cultural lives there, and that the area was once the center of wars and ethnic conflicts.
"In the geo-economic concept, the Caspian Sea has become one of the most important geo-economic regions of the world at the end of last and the beginning of this century. Because the Caspian littoral states' energy resources can meet today's needs of the world in energy sources," Hasanov said.
That is, from an economic point of view, the whole world has focused on the Caspian Sea.
"After the USSR collapse, the country, which possessed geo-economic advantages long ago, of course, does not want to let anybody in. At the same time, the whole world wants to join it," he said. "The Caspian geo-economic period was created in this confrontation and Azerbaijan persevered due to this."
"Caspian Sea area is not a militarized region despite Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran have border structures there," he said. "But in general, the Caspian Sea is not a militarized region."
"The Caspian Sea is a place of confrontation between the individual centers of power that threaten humanity and ensuring its security in a geo-strategic concept," he said.
"Finally, I would like to stress a new period of the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan's new oil policy," he said. "As it is known, Azerbaijan first demonstrated its desire to invite transnational companies for the cooperation in the Caspian Sea in 1994."
"In 1994, Azerbaijani national leader Heydar Aliyev spoke about the joint development of energy sources of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea with many Western companies with which Azerbaijan is cooperating today - BP, EXHSON and other world leading companies and supply to the world market via alternative routes," he said. "Azerbaijan has formed a new policy on the basis of this statement. Three other countries in the Caspian region, except for Russia and Iran, independently use their rights to own their energy sources. Azerbaijan laid the basis for this and we are determined to go till the end."
He noted that, regarding this issue, great pressure has been put on Azerbaijan during 1994-1998.
"That alone can be talked about for hours. They tried to make Azerbaijan live through military, political, social and other conflicts. They tried to divide Azerbaijan from the inside. They did so much, that looking at Azerbaijan today, it is impossible to imagine what the country had to go through," Hasanov said.
"We have become the owners of energy resouces, and we've come into the world with the will, that is to stay until the end. The good thing is, at that time, the world community, the UN, U.S., the EU, and other forces unambiguously stated Azerbaijan's rightness, expressed their support, and we became the owners of our own energy resources. What happened next? The pipelines Azerbaijan had at that time, were not able to bring out to the world market even one one-twentieth part of oil and natural gas that the country is exporting today. Azerbaijan at the time had only two pipelines, the 5-million tons capacity "Baku-Novorossiysk" pipeline, and "Baku-Supsa" pipeline," Hasanov noted.
He said there was only one pipeline at that time, which transported gas from Turkmenistan via Russia. At the same time, the "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan" pipeline project emerged, and it was not the only one.
"Along with Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, there were 3-5 similar projects being discussed at the time. One of them was the Baku-Iran-Persian Gulf project, and the other one was Baku-Erzurum-Armenia and from there to Europe. Another project was the expansion of the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline, and also the Baku - Supsa and exit through the Black Sea to the Odessa-Brody pipeline, and from there to Europe. Among them all, Azerbaijan chose the "Baku-Ceyhan", and you very well know why. At that time, Turkey opened a way for Azerbaijani energy resources. Heydar Aliyev at the time used to say: "We are one nation, and two states", and we have etrusted our biggest treasure to Turkey," Hasanov noted.
He said that back then Azerbaijan not only accumulated resources to meet the country's needs, but at the same time turned Turkey into one of the major energy centers of the world.
"Turkey today is one of the most important centers of energy distribution in the world. Just imagine 40 million tons of Azerbaijani oil, 40 million tons of Kazakh oil, approximately 20 million tons of Turkmen oil, and 60-100 million tons of Russian oil passed through the straits of Istanbul via tankers. God forbid, if one of these tankers crashed. The construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline also saved Turkey from such a disaster. So, once, when I was standing in front of Heydar Aliyev's monument in Turkey, I said: "You have every right to be here, you saved Istanbul from heavy disasters. Ataturk won the Istanbul over for the Turkic world, preserved and protected it, and you protected it from the XXI century oil disaster, and contributed to the life of this city as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Now, in this conception, the Caspian Sea is one of the most important regions of Eurasia and the whole world. Of course, the Caspian Sea first and foremost is our home, the home of the peoples of the five states surrounding the Caspian Sea," Ali Hasanov said.